Monday, November 17, 2008

Guest Author: Matt Cory

J.K. Coi: First off, you can check out my brief review of Matt's book here.
So now, without further ado, please welcome Matthew Cory to the blog:

There are two questions I'm asked quite frequently, both dealing with aspects of the main character of Like Glass, Rob Jackson. The first question is, based on Rob's musical abilities, did I ever play piano?

That one's easy: yes, and still do on occasion. In fact, throughout high school I figured I'd be playing Carnegie Hall by now -- and, by some measures (namely my father) I probably would be if I'd kept at it. I received a partial scholarship to Texas Tech university for it as well (which I subsequently gave up to pursue software development and the almighty dollar, but that's a story for a different time). I wasn't as good as Rob is in the story, but I knew what I was doing, for the most part. Put it this way: Rob plays Chopin's Ballade in G minor, and plays it quite well; I started learning it, but could never get past the first couple of pages.

The second question I normally get asked is how much of "Rob" is really you?

That's a tough one. Honestly, quite a bit, in some form or another. In fact, when I was writing it -- before I even really took the idea that I'd finish a novel seriously -- I'd simply pictured myself in his place, with a couple of tweaks here and there. Mostly, I tried to make him a little more of a jerk than I considered myself, hopefully with some success.

Aside from that, I simply put him in a few different situations and asked myself "What would I do there? What would I wish that I could do there? What am I afraid that I'd do there?" Which ever answer seemed the most interesting, I used. Of course, eventually Rob got tired of me making these decisions and started making up his own mind. Characters will do that if you're not careful with them; then again, that's one of the joys in writing, when your characters start to write the story for you.

Now, there's a reason I'm answering these questions here, and it's not just that I really think everyone's so curious about what I have to say. Another question that every author gets asked is where do you come up with your ideas? Even authors worry about that -- they'll get stuck and spin their wheels trying to figure out where to go next. From my own experience, "writing" is the easiest thing in the world. Figuring out what to write is a different story.

With Like Glass, I did two things. First, I built off of my own personal experiences. Rob was a pianist, and that led to a fair amount of story line to build off of -- a concert, practicing, stuff like that. A few other events in there are also built from my own experience, but I won't get into those. Regardless, no matter what you might think to the contrary, your own life can give you some great starting points at least, if not a full novel.

The second thing I did was I put myself in Rob's shoes whenever he didn't want to take the reigns himself. It's really easy to do with any character, too. Ask yourself the same questions I asked myself, but if your character is obviously different from you, switch it up. What would you not do in a particular situation? What would you not say to someone? Your own choices will, believe it or not, write your story -- sometimes you realize it, other times you think it's the character themselves. If you're stuck, make it a conscious effort and don't just wait and see what happens.

If you're not an author, this probably doesn't seem that interesting. But remember, life is made of the same choices characters in stories make all the time. Granted, we don't all get to chose between two gorgeous members of the opposite sex every night, nor do our choices regularly save (or destroy) the world. But, as mundane as real life may seem at times, it's still more exciting than any novel -- we just don't realize it most of the time.

And the choices we make are much more important than what any character does, because at the end of the day, our choices matter. Rob makes a lot of choices himself -- some good, some bad -- but no matter what, when you close that book his choices disappear until you open it again.

So how does this apply to real life? Simple. We still get the chance to answer the same questions every day: what would you do? What do you wish you would do? What are you afraid you would do? And sometimes you got to mix it up, just to keep life interesting. Sometimes you need to do what you'd be afraid you'd do, just to find out if it was worth being afraid of. Sometimes you need to do what you wished you could do, just to let yourself live a little. And, of course, sometimes you need to do what you otherwise wouldn't do, just to keep everyone else on their toes ;)

Matt Cory


Bryl Tyne said...

I'm curious. The sample chapters I read are from Rob's POV. Is that the norm throughout Like Glass? I know, most romance novels are from the female protag POV. If all of your books are from the male perspective, you can guarantee I'll be reading your work in the future. I say future only because my TBR pile is already overflowing :)


Matthew Cory said...

Hi Bryl,
Thanks for the comment, and yes -- Like Glass and it's upcoming sequel, Shattered are both entirely from Rob's perspective.

I can't really comment on any future works (though the third book I'm considering for the series will also most likely be from Rob's perspective), except to say I have given consideration on stories based around some of the other characters in the novel -- including the female ones -- and have thrown around lots of different ideas.


J.K. Coi said...

I too, liked the fact that the book was in Rob's POV.

Maggie Robinson said...

Great advice, for both writing and living. :)

Matthew Cory said...

Thank you Maggie -- I was hoping someone would find it useful (or, at least good :)

Renee said...

Ok, so, wow. Great conflict.
BTW, I like the pov coming from Rob. But then you had me at, yeah I played the piano.

Anyway, I'm truly curious what it is like for you to write romance. What inspired you to move in this direction?

Matthew Cory said...

Thanks for the comments Renee. To be honest, and this might throw people off, but I don't really consider Like Glass to be a romance -- not in the traditional sense, at least. It is a love story at it's core, true, but most of the novel is really dealing with how Rob handles different things that life throws at him.

That being said, I've always considered myself a romantic to some degree or other. I wish I could give some wonderful story about something that inspired me to write the novel, but in all honesty it pretty much wrote itself. I just happened to be holding the pen (well, keyboard technically) when it decided to come out.

Shelley Munro said...

It is unusual to have male POV all the way through a book. I find the idea intriguing. I must say I would have picked up your book after looking at the cover. It's simple and very attractive with great colors.

Matthew Cory said...

Thank you Shelly -- I actually did the cover myself for the most part. (I found the rose online and did a lot of tweaking to it, but don't tell anyone ;)

Jessa Slade said...

I agree that one of the best parts of being a writer is doing what you can't/wouldn't/shouldn't do :) Personally I can't walk in stiletto heels much less kick bad-guy ass while wearing them. (Make of that misplaced modifier what you will.)

Matthew Cory said...

J.K., I'd like to thank you for having me on here -- it's been great :)